The first six months

Yesterday was just another day. Sort of.

We walked up to Granville to get weighed, Inigo slept in the pram. Woke up for his weigh in, was charm itself to Lynne (who we haven’t seen since before the anti-biotics), and was the very picture of a gorgeous, happy, self settling, healthy, perfect little guy.

Everywhere we went, people commented on how gorgeous he was, how beautiful, how perfect. Just like it used to be. Just like the last three months never happened.

Like I’ve stepped into an alternate reality. $16 worth of anti-biotics, and our lives have turned around.

So I’m hoping that the next six months bring more of the same. I’m daring to hope. For the first time since he was born, I think he’s OK. I think he’s healthy, and I know he’s happy.

And I know, that if I can get through times like we’ve had so far, that I can get through just about anything.

Happy Half Birthday

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We made it. I have a longer post planned, but other things need doing beofre I can sit at the computer and get it all down.

We’ve been to see Lynne, our community health nurse, and had a weigh in. 6.5ish 6.64 kg – I’ll have to check the actual number, but that is about 500gm 580gm since last week.

I’ll definitely be celebrating tonight!

Two things I learned from a stranger

Ted took the boy yesterday afternoon, so I was able to go to Woolies on my own. I ran into a woman I had met at the baby health clinic a few times, and we had a long chat about kids, living in Granville, playgroup, and what has been going on with Inigo lately. She’d seen me a few times going for a weigh in, and has seen us over a long period. She said a couple of things that other people have said before, but perhaps hearing them from a stranger makes them easier to believe?

Firstly, she said that she admired my determination in getting answers for the boy. She has three kids, and has had to seek medical advice in the past – and said that she finds doctors intimidating, that it’s hard to insist on getting a second opinion even when you don’t trust the first opinion. It’s hard to trust your intuition and keep looking for answers in the face of smug paternalism.

Secondly, it isn’t meant to be this hard. She has three kids under three, and she thinks I’m having a hard time!

Earlier in the day I’d realised that my mental state is a little wobbly because I no longer know where the goal posts are. I’d expected that having a child would be hard, and that there would be times that I would be physically and mentally exhausted. But I’d also expected that the first three months would be the worst, and that by the time the baby was six months old things would be starting to get a little easier.

I was sick during the entire pregnancy. His birth was horrible for both him and us, and we had all the stress of not being able to hold him or feed him for the first week. Then we had the breastfeeding issues, and the worry of finding good advice, the week at Tresillian, being told all sorts of crap about why we were having trouble. Then we got the breastfeeding working for about three weeks, he was gaining weight well, but screaming for hours every day. We battled to find a paediatrician who would tell us what was wrong, we medicated him without really knowing if we were helping or not.

And then his weight stopped increasing. Each week that he didn’t gain weight, my heart sank further and further. It got to the point when I was on the verge of tears at every nappy change because he was so skinny. You shouldn’t see a baby’s ribs. The skin on his thighs shouldn’t hang like a runway model. And you should be able to find a doctor that will listen to you without having to wait two whole months for an appointment.

Even when we did get to see the good doctor, it took almost a month to get a diagnosis. Then we finally got an answer, yet we still had to spend another two weeks at Tresillian, having every facet of my parenting examined, being patronised up the wazoo, and feeling like I’m in remedial parenting class because I can’t take care of my child.

And through all this people keep asking if I’ve got post natal depression. No, I don’t think I do. I’ve got post natal hostility though 😉

So the next goal post will be set by me, and it will be achievable. We’re going to celebrate six months of Inigo. We don’t need medical benchmarks or test results, or a line on a chart. Next Thursday, we’re going to the clinic for a weigh in (because the paed asked us to weigh him weekly), and then I’m going to celebrate. He’ll be 26 weeks old, and every one of those 26 weeks has been a challenge.

And then, when I can sit still for long enough to plan it, there will be a party. I think I deserve it.

Lol Cats Meets Quantum Physics

The baby is now hovering just over 6kg. No gain this week, maybe a slight loss.

The wonder Doc isn’t worried, she puts it down to being sick for the last week. She wants us to keep up the same routine (feed 6 times a day, express after as many feeds as I can, and give a bottle after every feed). We’ll weigh him again next week, and see the doc again in a fortnight. We had the ultrasound today, and we won’t hear back about that unless there is something that needs further investigation.

Apparently it’s to be expected that he will have this cold for a while, and that his appetite will be a bit low while he is sick. It might also make him lose weight – but his progress so far is very encouraging, he doesn’t have a long way to go to get back within the “normal” percentile bands. But Dr McVeagh wants his weight to be in line with his length, which is around the 50th percentile. So I hope his appetite improves quickly!

And me? Barely hanging in there. I think that I am going to have to let some things slide. My head hurts, I’m still exhausted, and the house is a shambles. And I’m not really ok with that, but I’ll have to be.

Huge thanks to Dad and Bev for all the help this week 🙂

Sick Baby

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The picture above pretty much sums up how I feel. I am sick, the boy is sick, Mark has been killing himself looking after both of us, and it’s not going to get much easier for at least a week or two.

I am having to offer Inigo a “comp” after every feed. Breast milk if I can express enough, formula if I can’t. So after every feed, I have to express. Which is fine, except that I have to express while Inigo is in his happy and playful phase, so it’s impossible for me to do unless there is a helper here to care for Inigo while I express.

So if you live in Sydney and have a few spare hours during the day (weekdays only), and don’t mind being coughed and spewed on by a very small child, I could use a hand. This week is pretty much covered, but if we are still on this routine after Thursdays paed visit, any help will be appreciated.

Thursday is also the day of the renal ultrasound, and the MCU is on the 16th of June.

Thanks to Emily for making me feel very special with a home made cake.

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It was superb. Inigo decided that he is ready for solids!

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And thanks to Mum and Dad, and Andrew and Simone for a lovely low key birthday dinner. Simone and Andrew bought a cake from the Lindt shop, which was extremely good. If this keeps up I won’t have to eat real food for a few more days 🙂


Our discharge weight. That’s about 1kg in two weeks.

I’m totally wrecked, slept for about 15 hours yesterday (my birthday), and had a lovely dinner out with friends and family. Off to Rubi + Lana’s this morning, and will post a proper update as soon as I can.

Inigo doing well.

Lara hasn’t had her laptop in Tresillian this week, hence the lack of post. This is just a note to let you know that he’s been doing well. He was 5.75 kg on Monday (gain of 280g in 3 days over the weekend). You can’t see ribs anymore, and even his skin colour looks much better. Lara should post more soon.

We’re going back

The last 48 hours has been pretty awful.

Inigo gained 180gms from Tuesday to Friday – on top of whatever he gained from his last clinic visit on the 1st of May. Since we’re working with different scales, we won’t know that until we get back to Granville on a Thursday, but I think it’s about 150gms.

Despite his gain (5.470kg on Friday), the doc wants us back in lockup for another week. Of course I will comply, but it’s at great personal cost. I am not a person that takes direction well at the best of times, and when I feel like I am being patronised it’s really difficult for me to play nice.

Of course, I’m being told that we have to get the boy’s weight up as quickly as possible, and if we weren’t able to stay at Tresillian, then we’d probably be in hospital.

I’ve been told to express three times a day to get extra feeds. And if I can’t get enough, to give formula. Last Saturday night, we used up my stock of extra feeds when he stayed with Mum and Dad for the night. And since I’ve been at Tresillian, I have only been expressing enough to give his antibiotics, so my supply has dropped.

And stress affects supply.

And now I’m sick.

I had a bit of a cough on Friday, today I woke up feeling like death, it hurt to swallow. And my supply failed this afternoon.

Apparently illness doesn’t usually decrease supply, so it could just be that he is asking for more, and I need a day or so to catch up. Unfortunately, we don’t have any time to waste, so tonight he had some formula for the first time.

On Thursday he’ll be 24 weeks, or six months old. It was always my goal to breast feed until he was six months old, and beyond that if I could. The rational me is ok about it, and glad that I can feed him any way I can, but of course the emotional me is devastated.

Every bit of formula he gets means he isn’t sucking, and therefore not building supply. So while some might say it’s only a bit of formula, I am aware that the more formula he gets, the less my body will produce, and it may be very hard to continue breastfeeding without a lot of hard work.

So maybe if I had to face this when I was feeling emotionally sound, and physically well, then I’d be able to be a little more analytical, and a little less emotional. But after this week, and after the struggles we had to get it working in the first place, I’m not ready to give up easily.

So there could be another problem (or two)

Apparently, human breastmilk is digested readily, in around 90 minutes. Which is funny, because Inigo can vomit undigested milk up 4 hours after a feed. I’ve told the doctors about this, and of course I get ignored.

But yesterday, Inigo spewed just before a feed, and the vomit was pink – the same colour as his antibiotics, which he had before the previous feed. One of the nurses witnessed this, and now all of a sudden they seem to think that he might have an absorption problem. No shit…

So today I’ve been dealing with the possibility of that, and again today he seemed to be allergic to sleep. And then there’s the spewing.

When he is feeling OK, he seems to be a good sleeper, but the last few days he’s looked like he is in pain, and not been able to sleep through the day. If I lay him down in the cot on these days, he screams until I pick him up, then he takes a little while to settle, then he burps or spews. Once he is calm, I put him down, and the cycle starts again.

This morning Mark and I spent nearly two hours with the social worker, giving a detailed (and very personal) life history of the new Nettle family. Apparently the doctor wants to see a complete picture of us to examine any underlying issues that might be contributing to Inigo’s weight.

Of course I’m thrilled to have a doctor that is so thorough, and I am confident that if anyone can get to the bottom of this, she can – but at the same time I am living under a microscope. Nurses watch every feed, shining a torch at my nipple to examine the shape, colour and texture after a feed. They watch him attach, get right up close and breathe down my neck to examine his sucking reflex. If I had any dignity left after childbirth, it’s all been used up this week. They’ve even weighed his nappy to see how much he peed!

I keep telling myself that it’s worth it, that this scrutiny serves a purpose, and that my privacy is inconsequential in comparison to the health of my child. But it still sucks to be me right now. Which I mention because I am trying to give an accurate record of my days, not because I want sympathy, or pity. I am sure there are a lot of people who can empathise though, especially in that special form of torture that is having a sick child.

So tomorrow we’ll do another urine test, we’ll see the doctor, and we’ll find out if she’s worried about the absorption thing, and if she’s worried about how much he spews, and why he can’t seem to sleep when he is having a spewy day. Does he spew a lot? Is the spewing normal?

Lots more questions, and still no answers. Yet.

Another two days to get through. At least Mark will be here with us.